Buddy Hield says the additional year of life the NBA has withheld from him is just an administrative cock-up, and that he won’t some day wake up with Vlade Divac’s face.
But if he does, we’ll know why, and it won’t end well.
The Kings star-in-progress admitted to Comrade Ham that in fact the considered-old-as-a-rookie-and-older-now is actually 26 rather than 25, the sort of error we typically associate with Little League parents, and is actually no big deal at all.
That is, except for the fact that Hield’s mother was the one who noticed the error on and neither Hield, the Kings nor the league ever bothered to change it. You don’t ignore Mom and not pay for it later.
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As for the fact that Hield has aged the rest of the Kings by a year, well, it doesn’t add anything to his personal odometer. Age is a false construct in sports, but miles are not. Hield didn’t lose 82 games worth of leg spring or lung capacity.
But, Hield’s medical history was problematic enough, and now to find out that he’s a year closer to AARP membership, well, it can’t possibly be helpful.
Actually, though, there is an effect that could hamper Hield down the road – namely, and of course you guessed it already – his contract status.
The problem won’t hit in 2020, when his second contract has to be negotiated, but he has already done four years in college and that deal won’t start until he's almost 28. The contract after that could well use his added year against him.
But not even the Kings are that diabolical, or typically that forward-thinking. True, their website had his date of birth wrong, but so did nearly everyone else interested in Hield’s birthday.
No, I prefer to think that this is Vlade’s Balkan wizardry run amok. He made Hield older, even if only inadvertently, and frankly, that can only make the Kings of the future even more difficult to build.
Unless, of course, they start drafting players with a promise that they’ll be able to buy liquor sooner than their classmates. At 20, that can be a true selling point.